London's Trafalgar Square now an admirable luxury property hotspot

Famed for its statue of Lord Nelson atop his 51-metre column that was built to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the central London square of the same name has long been a draw for tourists, eager to take selfies in front of the four massive broze lions at the foot of the Admiral’s monument.

But until recently, it was not especially well known for its residential offerings.

However, the past five years have seen the West End square become the UK capital’s latest residential hotspot, and considerably cheaper than better known upmarket areas nearby such as Mayfair and Belgravia, according to the Beauchamp Estates West End Report.

The study reveals that the Trafalgar Square Conservation Area today has more than 350 new luxury apartments built since 2011; property value rises outperforming the rest of the West End.

“The Trafalgar Square conservation area … is one of the last overlooked and undervalued areas in London’s West End,” says Gary Hersham, a partner at Beauchamp Estates. “Residential values in the area range from £1,800 (Dh8,267) to £3,500 per sqaure foot, compared to £3,500 to £5,000 per sq ft in neighbouring Mayfair, Belgravia and Marylebone. Over the past three years price rises in the area have also outperformed the neighbouring localities drawing both owner-occupiers and investors to the area in anticipation of further price increases.”

The report focuses on the Trafalgar Square Conservation Area, a 1.9km thoroughfare that runs between St James’s Palace and the western end of Pall Mall, through to Trafalgar Square, and from the Strand to Temple Bar.

Following a long period of decline a major urban renewal programme led by The Crown Estate started in 2002. This focused on improving the public realm, refurbishment of existing facades and the sale on new long leases of former government and commercial buildings. This has kick-started a major residential revival and influx of a flurry of new hotels and luxury retailers which is still ongoing.

Nine new residential developments have or are being constructed along Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square and the Strand over the past five years comprising 362 new luxury apartments and penthouses at values ranging from £2,500 to £3,000 per square foot.

Apartments in these new developments have an average sales price of £1.74 million, up 4.7 per cent since 2015.

“In the last two years alone there has been some £413m luxury new apartment sales in the district,” says Paul Finch, the head of new homes sales at Beauchamp Estates. “The location is adjacent to Mayfair and Belgravia, yet without the corresponding peaks in residential values.”

The Trafalagar Square quarter is now undergoing rapid transformation into a luxury residential address, with the associated capital value uplift that occurs with regeneration and huge inward investment, he adds.

Over the past three years the rate of price growth in the Trafalgar Square Conservation Area has outperformed neighbouring Mayfair and Marylebone. Average sales prices per sq ft in the local area have risen by 33 per cent compared with 26 per cent for Mayfair and 24 per cent for Marylebone over the same period, the report says.

Over the past 12 months, the report reveals the majority (56 per cent) of new homes sales in the Trafalgar Square locality were for flats priced from £950,000 up to £2m, another 28 per cent of sales were for premium apartments priced from £2m to £5m and 16 per cent were for super-prime homes priced over £5m.

In 2011 the first major new residential development in the area took place with the transformation of the Marconi Wireless Headquarters on the Strand into 92 luxury apartments, known as Marconi House, complete with a new five-star ME London hotel. The apartments sold for £1,670 per sq ft.

This was followed in 2013 by the launch of The Charles Apartments selling for equivalent values, and in 2014 by the launch of The Cornithia Residences selling for £2,600 per sq ft (part of another new five-star hotel complex) and in the same year the launch of 190 Strand, providing 200 apartments complete with 177,303 sq ft of luxury commercial space including a leisure complex. 190 Strand sold at values of up to £3,000 per sqft.

In 2015 Beauchamp Estates marketed the Gatti House apartments, which sold for values from £2,100 to more than £3,000 per sqft.

The first quarter of this year will see the main launch of the Pall Mall Collection by the developer Amazon Property. This scheme is the conversion of No 42-43 Pall Mall, the former Lund & Blockley watchmakers, for values of over £3,000 per sq ft.

This year also sees the main launch of Oceanic House, the former White Star Line headquarters at No1 Cockspur Street, which has been converted into seven luxury residences priced from £2,830 per sq ft. Other luxury residential developments in the pipeline include Admiralty Arch which is set to create a handful of ultra-luxury apartments, which will be serviced by an adjoining luxury six-star hotel and a new club also under development. Another new development will be 5 Strand, a scheme of 26 apartments.

The West End Report was commissioned by the luxury property broker Beauchamp Estates, with data research and analysis by Dataloft, the market intelligence group, using property data from 2011 to 2016 and figures from the Land Registry, Lonres and Zoopla.

Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter